Which rail pass for Zurich - Zermatt - Paris?

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juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 14, 2018 - 10:24 PM

Hello! I've just starting planning a trip for my family this summer, and after reading about it for over an hour I'm still confused about what rail passes or tickets would be best for us. Could someone please help me?

We will be in Zurich for one night after flying in from the US. Then we are taking a train to Zermatt, where will stay for 2 nights. Then we are taking a train to Paris. There will be 4 adults and 3 children (11, 9, and 6), and I think we would like to travel first class. Would it make the most sense to buy the Swiss Pass, a 2-country Eurail pass, or just buy the tickets separately?

Thank you for any help you can give!!

Julie

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5151 posts
expert
Jan 15, 2018 - 2:58 AM in reply to juliekzp

Hi Julie-

The experts knowledgeable about rali passes will have to chime in on the best pass, although the usual advice is to do a bit of math:

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses

Check the links.

When are you traveling? Makes a difference in the high Alps.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Jan 15, 2018 - 3:43 AM by Slowpoke
juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 15, 2018 - 3:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Train to Zermatt on August 1, train to Paris on August 3.

I did a little preliminary math, and it seems like the 2-country Eurail pass would be better (especially with 3 kids riding free). But then I read that I'd have to pay extra to reserve seats on the train to Paris (and maybe others?), and I couldn't figure out how much extra that would be.

I also have read that the train to Zermatt isn't included in the passes, but then I read that starting in 2017 it is?

rockoyster
rockoyster
4013 posts
expert
Jan 15, 2018 - 4:13 AM in reply to juliekzp

Hi Julie,

You are probably on the right track. Have you read this www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/france

Although it may confuse you more. Reservation charges are usually trivial compared to the price of the ticket.

If you try getting a price from the SBB website for Zermatt to Paris on that date you will get the attached. If try for an earlier date (just to get the price) and you claim Eurail discount for Switzerland and France it shows a ticket price of CHF41/adult.

Optional reservation between Visp and Basel is CHF5. Reservation on the TGV Basel to Paris is included in the ticket price presusmably as reservations are compulsory.

The train to Zermatt is covered by the Eurail Pass. The train to Gornergrat from Zermatt is not.

Last modified on Jan 15, 2018 - 7:54 AM by Chantal
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Peterli
Peterli
620 posts
top member
Jan 15, 2018 - 4:28 AM

Hi Julie,

The "experts" will no doubt want to know if you are flying back to the USA from Paris or Zurich.

Removed user
Removed user
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Jan 15, 2018 - 5:24 AM in reply to juliekzp

>> I did a little preliminary math, and it seems like the 2-country Eurail pass would be better (especially with 3 kids riding free).

If you get a Swiss Travel Pass, your children will also travel for free if you order the (free) Swiss Family Card together with your Swiss Travel Pass.

The Swiss Travel Pass will also get you free travel on the little electric buses that run around in Zermatt, and 50% discount on the mountain transport in Zermatt. Then it will get you to the border with France on your final day, so you just need a ticket for the portion of your journey within France.

The Eurail Pass is not valid for the village buses or mountain transport within Zermatt.

However, it is always your whole itinerary, not just one part of it, that needs to be taken into account in selecting a pass. If you are not travelling around by train in France, then the Swiss Travel Pass, and a point-to-point ticket from the border to Paris, is almost certainly your best bet if you can't be bothered doing all the sums.

I have not travelled in France on a Eurail Pass, but from what I have read, it is not particularly good value because passholder seats are limited, and reservation fees/supplements are hefty. But you would need to check that out in more detail for yourself. The Man in Seat 61 website is a good source of information:

www.seat61.com/France-trains.htm

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jan 15, 2018 - 7:56 AM by Chantal
juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 3:45 PM

Thank you for the help! The only other train travel we are doing is Paris to Disneyland Paris, and then Disneyland Paris to London (which I know isn't covered by the Eurail pass). Then we fly home from London.

I will poke around all the links you guys sent and will do some math!

Julie

Peterli
Peterli
620 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 4:03 PM

Hi,

I will leave it to the train pass experts to clarify this, but surely the segment of the Paris to London rail trip that is in France will be covered by your EurailPass ?

juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 4:11 PM

It's not in segments -- it's a direct train from Disneyland Paris to London -- so I think that's why none of it is covered?

Peterli
Peterli
620 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 4:35 PM

Perhaps my use of the word "segment" is confusing. I still believe that the portion of the single trip from Paris to London that is in France should be covered by your EurailPass.

juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 4:46 PM

Oh I think the Eurostar is now covered by a Eurail pass, as of 2017. Maybe I was reading old info. And now that I know this, I'm thinking a 3-country Eurail pass makes the most sense.

juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 7:46 PM

I think I am slowly but surely figuring this out lol. Could someone please please please tell me if any of these prices or calculations look way off, or if I am missing anything or am misunderstanding something? I also know this doesn't include money I save for transportation within Zurich and Zermatt if I get the Swiss Pass. Since we're only there for 3 days, I don't know if that would add up to $300 or so?

Swiss Pass + Paris ticket + London ticket:

3-day Swiss Pass – $1494 (4 adults, 3 kids free)

Zurich to Visp – none

Visp to and from Zermatt (50% discount) – $371

Visp to Basel – none

Basel to Paris – $566

Disneyland Paris to London – $918

Total = $3349

Eurail Pass:

4 day, 2 country passes - $1566 (4 adults, 3 kids free)

Zurich to Visp – $6x7 = $42

Visp to and from Zermatt (25% discount) - .75 x ($135x4 + $67x3) = $556

Visp to Paris – $83x7 = $581 (reservation fee)

Disneyland Paris to London – $45x7 = $315 (reservation fee)

Total = $3060

Thank you all for your help!!

Last modified on Jan 16, 2018 - 7:53 PM by juliekzp
rockoyster
rockoyster
4013 posts
expert
Jan 16, 2018 - 8:04 PM

You seem to think the Visp to Zermatt leg is only discounted on both options. It is just a regular train so free. Maybe you are thinking of Zermatt to Gornergrat.

Visp (or should be Zermatt) to Paris reservation fee seems inordinately high.

Last modified on Jan 16, 2018 - 8:05 PM by rockoyster
juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 8:33 PM

Free under both options, or only under Swiss Travel Pass?

Here's where I got the $83 (68 euros) reservation fee -- www.eurail.com/en/rese rvations/reservation-fees/international-train-reservation-fees

juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 8:40 PM

More math - here's what individual tickets would cost:

Zurich to Zermatt – $1112

Zermatt to Paris – $1144

Disneyland Paris to London – $918

Total = $3174

rockoyster
rockoyster
4013 posts
expert
Jan 16, 2018 - 9:01 PM in reply to juliekzp

Free under both options- yes.

Does that point-point calculation involve using a CHF30 Junior Travelcardard for each of the kids in Switzerland. i.e. CHF90 covers all their Swiss travel.

Your use of $ threw me - used to working in CHF.

From Eurail link above . . .

TGV Lyria (France - Switzerland)

Route: Paris – Zürich / Bern / Lausanne / Genève

Reservation mandatory.

Fees - 1st class: starting at 52 euros / 2nd class: starting at 25 euros

You’ve read this www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/france, right.

Have you looked at Swiss Transfer Ticket? CHF 152 per adult gets you Zurich to Zermatt and Zermatt to Basel. www.myswissalps.com/sw isstransferticket

Someone else might know if you can get away with using it on your second day given your overnight in Zurich on arrival.

Last modified on Jan 16, 2018 - 9:38 PM by rockoyster
Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 9:44 PM in reply to juliekzp

Hi Julie,

On the page how to choose the best rail pass you'll find more information. There's an Excel spreadsheet which you can download. You'll have to list all the places you will be traveling to during your trip and do the math to compare point to point tickets vs. different rail passes. This way you have all the options in one single sheet. And with all places I also mean a visit to Gornergrat near Zermatt if applicable. Different passes do give different discounts on activities as earlier mentioned.

As per rockoyster's last post, it would make sense to have a look at the Swiss Transfer Ticket as well since you're not making many trips in Switzerland. The Eurostar is indeed covered by the Eurail Global Pass.

rockoyster
rockoyster
4013 posts
expert
Jan 16, 2018 - 9:51 PM in reply to Chantal

Hi Chantal,

Will STT be useable on Day 2 seeing they arrive and overnight in Zurich? Is STT date based and tied to inward and outward connections?

juliekzp
juliekzp
18 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2018 - 10:26 PM in reply to Chantal

I tried to download the Excel spreadsheet earlier but kept getting an error message. I'll try again....

I will look at the Swiss Transfer Ticket and the Junior Travelcard. So many options!!

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Jan 16, 2018 - 10:37 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi rockoyster,

I missed that. They're traveling on day two. I'm actually not sure. Even the SBB is not very clear on their website. I'll give them a call tomorrow.

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